At Sea

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s been two and half years in the life of this illustrated journal and it feels like a good time to take a break and reflect on our journey. We had no idea where this would go when we set out, but we were bursting with thoughts, reflections, words and images – and they needed an outlet. 

We still have so much to say, but we don’t want to write for the sake of writing. There is already so much noise in the world. And while it’s wonderful to see that voices that were ignored in the past are coming to the fore, everyone telling their story doesn’t mean more people will listen. If everyone is talking, who is doing the listening?

In his 1841 essay ‘Circles,’ Ralph Waldo Emerson said that everything in the universe was connected and everything moved in a circular pattern, and by understanding these concepts, humans can learn to embrace new ideas and new experiences, something many of us struggle with. This includes how we face change in the world, but also how we are with each other, how we speak, how we argue, and how we listen.

“Good as is discourse,” he wrote, “silence is better, and shames it. The length of the discourse indicates the distance of thought betwixt the speaker and the hearer. If they were at a perfect understanding in any part, no words would be necessary thereon. If at one in all parts, no words would be suffered.”

The world appears to be increasingly unstable and uncertain and this is likely to continue as the changing climate begins to affect more and more aspects of our lives. While deluded politicians and entrepreneurs keep thinking we just need ‘solutions,’ from our perspective, what matters is not growth— more of, better planning or new strategies—but deciding how we show up in the world. 

When we set off, we had lots of ideas for how the Rights Studio should evolve, or dare we say ‘grow,’ but this feels like playing by old rules, those exact rules that we want to see changed. So we’re going to (try to) practise what we preach and take a more adaptive and emergent approach to our work: not try to control, but adapt; not react, but respond; not focus on the destructive, but the creative. 

Granted, we may, at times, be lost at sea, but rather than struggling against the wind, we’ll be learning how to work with it, with confidence, but lightly. Emerson said that while people wish to be settled, it is only when they are unsettled that there is any hope for them.  

And as a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously, we’ll adopt Emerson’s words: “Let me remind the reader that I am only an experimenter. Do not set the least value on what I do, or the least discredit on what I do not, as if I pretended to settle any thing as true or false. I unsettle all things. No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker, with no Past at my back.”

We will be back in the Autumn with more sharing and curating, but in the meantime, if you miss us, email us or write us a letter, we love hearing from our readers! And if there are any subjects you would like us to explore, do let us know. 

Words, Veronica Yates
Illustration, Miriam Sugranyes

Reference

‘Circles,’ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841. Read online here

Further Training and Resources

Warriors for the Human Spirit, https://berkana.org/warriors-for-the-human-spirit/

We Will Dance With Mountains, Bayo Akomolafe, https://www.dancingwithmountains.com/

The Uncertainty Experts, https://www.uncertaintyexperts.com/.

Be More Pirate, Sam Conniff. Join the movement here: https://www.bemorepirate.com/

Who Do We Choose to Be, Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity, Margaret Wheatley. 

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